Establish and Keep Procedures and Schedules by Gini Cunningham

By admin
Oct 21st, 2013

ScheduleYour discipline plan addresses the key components for ease of classroom management: respect, being prepared, being on time… Procedures are every other movement within your classroom and school. This includes pencil sharpening, bathroom voyages, and schedule shake-ups.  Here are ten tips to help you establish and maintain a productive classroom:

  1. Write down every possible movement in your classroom: sharpening pencils, getting paper, moving to a partner.  Then decide exactly how you want the procedure to be done.
  2. Knowing that more movement often adds more confusion, what can you eliminate, i.e., a can of sharp pencils ready for a quick exchange, paper already on desks, desks already moved to partner? The more prepared you are, the better your class will run.
  3. Go back to that list and remind yourself: While I am patient today with rummaging noisily through a disastrous backpack to find an assignment, how will I feel about this rummaging in May? Can I solve the rummaging situation before it becomes a problem?
  4. Explain your procedures to your students with specific expectations. Make it clear that this is how things will be done now and throughout the year (and don’t cave in next week when you hear “My homework is in my locker, may I go get it?” Repeat, repeat, repeat…)
  5. Practice your procedures, more with little ones, less with older students. Once students know that you have a clear plan for procedures, they are most likely going to be willing to adhere to it.
  6. It’s never too late to add a new procedure or adjust an old one.
  7. Remember that new students in your classroom are unfamiliar with the procedures. Make this a perfect time to re-practice your procedures or to have a student peer demonstrate.
  8. Post the daily schedule in a location that is easy to see. If students have questions about the schedule (“When does this class end?” – a junior high / middle school question), simply point to the schedule and move on.
  9. Post a weekly and/or monthly schedule of important events and due dates.
  10. Some students, especially those who leave your classroom for resource, may need an individual schedule to keep on their desks or in their planners. Going to several different classrooms can be confusing.

© Gini Cunningham (adapted from her book, The New Teacher’s Companion: Practical Wisdom for Succeeding in the Classroom (ASCD). In addition to her writing, Gini is an author, workshop leader, and consultant who provides education for educators.

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